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Comments for Cookbooks

Cookbooks: 04/11/09

So this week we're supposed to be talking about cookbooks. I have a large number of cookbooks that have come to me by way of BookCrossing and some that were wedding gifts. The ones in bold are the ones we use on a regular basis and by regular I mean once or twice a month.

Cooking is a messy process and space is limited in our tiny town house. There just isn't space to have an open cookbook while cooking most meals. This lack of space has necessitated that we memorize our favorite recipes. My husband and I have different favorite cookbooks. His favorite is The Joy of Cooking. He finds it reassuring that there is a recipe for opossum in there just in case. We have an older edition of the book and are a little sad that the opossum recipe isn't in the newer ones (not that we've ever been tempted to try it).

My favorite cookbook is The New American Cookbook which was my grandmother's copy. I think it's actually her second copy. I think she used the copy her mother in law gave her (convinced that grandmother wouldn't be able to cook correctly for her new husband) so much that the book fell apart. Even though I adore the book I actually have my favorite recipes from the book memorized (with adaptations made over the years from trial and error). My two most favorite recipes from the book are for chocolate chip cupcakes which grandmother modified into chocolate chip cake with peanut butter frosting and Lasagna Napoli which I've since modified to the tastes of my family. When I make Lasagna Napoli now I get the whole family involved. While I cook, the rest of them make the lasagna noodles from scratch. It's relatively easy, much cheaper than the store bought varieties and it tastes better.

Since I don't think I've posted the Lasagna Napoli recipe yet, I'll share it here.

Lasagna Napoli (I make no claims for authentic Italian taste)

The meat sauce (red stripe)

1 lb. ground meat (turkey or beef)
1/2 head of garlic diced (or less if you're not a fan of garlic)
1 onion diced
1 lb. fresh mushrooms diced (what ever flavor is your favorite; we like to use a mixture of Asian ones)
1 32 oz. can of tomato sauce
dash of oregano and rosemary for taste (or a few sprigs of both if you grow your own spices)
1 16 oz of whole tomatoes (or about six diced fresh tomatoes)

The spinach layer (green and white stripe)

1 pound of spinach (cook it the night before or if you're like us, just use the leftovers!)
1 1/2 cups cottage cheese (it doesn't matter what curd size)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (get the real stuff and grate it yourself, it tastes better)
1 egg

The noodles
2 cups flour
4 eggs
pinch of salt

In a large pan, saute up the garlic and onion and meat in a little olive oil. Add in the tomatoes, tomato sauce, mushrooms and spices and reduce heat to let the mixture render down a bit.

While the meat sauce is cooking: in a bowl mix up the spinach, cottage cheese and Parmesan cheese. Use the egg to bind the mixture together.

In a large bowl, put the flour and salt down and make a well in the middle for the eggs. Crack the eggs into the well and slowly mix together with the flour to make a very dry and strong dough. Let it sit for a few minutes before running it through the pasta maker. Cut the strips to fit your casserole dish.

In a large casserole dish, lay down half of the meat sauce. Then a layer of the pasta. Then all of the spinach mixture. Then another layer of pasta. Top with the remaining meat sauce. Cover the sauce layer with enough Parmesan cheese to bake into a crust. If you don't have enough, you can cover the entire thing with foil.

Bake at 350° F for an hour. Let it cool about ten minutes before serving. Serves eight.

I have a thing for old books. My "thing" includes old cookbooks. I have a large number of books that I plan to read. Most of them I will probably release through BookCrossing when I'm done reading them. The bold titles in the list below are the ones that I consider mine and are ones that I actually do cook out of at least once or twice a year.

Many of my old books include recipes collections done for charity. The Some Darn Good Eatin' recipe book is one of my personal favorites since I helped put it together. The book shares the same acronym with the company that put it together: SDG&E (San Diego Gas & Electric) where both my parents once worked. My mom was spearheading the cookbook project so I got to help with basic copyediting stuff. It was a lot of fun.

My cook book collection includes:

  1. The New American Cookbook by Lily Wallace
  2. The Art of Jewish Cooking by Jennie Grossinger
  3. At the Japanese Table: New and Traditional Recipes by Lesley Downer
  4. Best Pastas (vol I) by Bon Appetit
  5. Betty Crocker Cookbook
  6. Blender Cook Book by Better Homes and Gardens
  7. The Chocolate Cookbook by Elizabeth Wolf Cohen
  8. Classic French Cooking - Foods of the World by Time-Life books
  9. The Complete Book of Oriental Cooking by Myra Waldo
  10. Cooking Class Appetizers Cookbook by Publications International LTD
  11. Fleischmann's Mixer's Manual by The Fleischmann Distilling Corporation
  12. I Hate to Cook Almanack by Peg Bracken
  13. Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer
  14. Kitchen Kapers by PEO Chapter MM
  15. Look! I Can Cook: Step by Step Recipes from Around the World by Angela Burdick
  16. Maui Cooks by Kaui Goring
  17. The Molly Goldberg Jewish Cookbook by by Gertrude Berg and Myra Waldo
  18. Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen
  19. Nanny Ogg's Cookbook by Terry Pratchett
  20. Our Best Quick & Easy Recipes by Jean Wickstrom Liles
  21. Pastries, Pies, and Tarts by Home Cooking Library
  22. Picnics: Over 40 Recipes for Dining in the Great Outdoors by Heidi Haughy Cusick
  23. Recipes... Recipes... Recipes by Customer Information Central
  24. Rival Crock Pot: Slow Cooker Favorites by Louis Weber
  25. The Rum Connoisseur by Chico
  26. Some Darn Good Eatin' by Kathy Frost et al
  27. The Spanish Cookbook by Barbara Norman
  28. Spices of the World Cookbook by McCormick & Co.
  29. A Taste of Norway by Henry Notaker
  30. Walt Disney's Snow White Dairy Recipes: Fun for the Whole Family by the American Dairy Association
  31. Wokcraft: A Stirring Compendium of Chinese Cookery by Charles Schafer

Comments (16)

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Comment #1: Saturday, April, 11, 2009 at 18:56:48

Erotic Horizon

Hi Puss Reboot,

I love your list of books - Wokcraft sound so good. I do alot of wok cooking..

The recipe sounds lovely. I think I'll come back and get it. Substituting meat for chicken as I neither eat turkey or beef...

Good post


Comment #2: Sunday, April 12, 2009 at 18:16:24


If you put enough different kinds of mushrooms into the sauce you could do away with the meat completely.

Comment #3: Saturday, April, 11, 2009 at 19:10:31


Yum! The lasagna sounds really good. You know, I've never seen The New American Cookbook. I bet I could find a used copy somewhere. Joy and Moosewood are still on my shelf after many purges.

Comment #4: Sunday, April 12, 2009 at 18:19:13


The New American Cookbook isn't exactly new any more and I'm not sure its even in print. My copy dates back to the late 1950s and it was first in print decades before that.

Comment #5: Saturday, April, 11, 2009 at 20:05:32


Thanks for the great recipe. As someone who used to cook in a closet kitchen, I can recommend photocopying a recipe and taping it to a cabinet while you cook. Sounds weird but works great!

Comment #6: Sunday, April 12, 2009 at 18:28:23


I will keep your suggestion in mind. Thanks.

Comment #7: Sunday, April, 12, 2009 at 03:36:05


Great recipe, I love lasagne.

Comment #8: Sunday, April 12, 2009 at 18:30:50


Thanks! Happy cooking.

Comment #9: Sunday, April, 12, 2009 at 05:38:21

gautami tripathy

That's some collection! Thanks for the recipe!

Comment #10: Sunday, April 12, 2009 at 18:32:12


I have to admit that I was surprised when I saw how long the list was!

Comment #11: Sunday, April, 12, 2009 at 19:21:06


I think it just awesome that even tho you don't have room in your kitchen to use a cookbook, you still have enough room somewhere to store all these cookbooks! Do I have that right? Hats off! really, I think it's great. Happy Joys of Cooking to you.

Comment #12: Sunday, April 12, 2009 at 18:33:00


Yes, it's true. Not much room for opening a cookbook while cooking but still a large collection of books. I keep them mostly in my bedroom.

Comment #13: Monday, April, 13, 2009 at 20:59:02


You have them all in alphabetical order! (sigh) I wish I had mine listed.

Comment #14: Thursday, April 16, 2009 at 12:12:20


It's a throw back to my days of working in a library.

Comment #15: Tuesday, April, 14, 2009 at 11:45:41


I will try that Lasagna Napoli, it sounds wonderful! Thanks!

Comment #16: Thursday, April 16, 2009 at 12:14:14


It's one of my favorite recipes. Happy cooking!

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